I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been cutting Mitt Romney some slack. Ever since the circus that was the first half of the Republican primary season, I’ve taken some measure of pity on the man. He just looks so uncomfortable up there at times. It’s not easy to watch someone who’s not comfortable trying their hardest to back slap in Iowa or find their inner Bill Clinton in New Hampshire. The only time he’s looked truly cool on the campaign trail was during the Republican debates when he could just sit back and let the flat earthers and creationists of the GOP have at it. Then I watched the Mother Jones Video. The Romney No Plan for nearly one half of America. I listened too. If you were to just read the transcript of what Romney told a room full of high rollers, it would be bad enough. The message is 47% of Americans are hitching a free ride. They are inferior to all of those gathered in the home of a private equity kingpin in that they believe they are entitled to everything and more from the government. They are leeches and they won’t get anything from Mitt Romney. “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said. But I also listened to the man. What I heard was confidence in his voice. I heard a man in his element and relaxed. I heard Mitt Romney how he must have sounded in board rooms past during his high flying days of consulting and pillaging with Bain Capital. I’d never heard Mitt Romney comfortable in his own skin. It was eerie because here he is, at ease, giving us a peek into his character – his true world view – and that view of the world is dismal. Romney’s view of the world is that one half of the people in the United States aren’t worth a damn – and he’ll “go tell that” with smug self-assurance in his voice. So, who are the 47%, these filchers and grubbers? The Tax Policy Center, a think tank devoted to unbiased analyses of tax policy and started by former officials of the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton Administrations helps to shed some light on the issue. Take a look at the graphic on the left. You’ll see that of those who do not pay income tax, nearly two thirds pay payroll taxes. If you’d like to become better informed than a candidate for president of the United States, check out this post from the Tax Policy Center. In part:
Much has been made of TPC’s estimate that fully 46 percent of Americans will pay no federal individual income tax this year. Commentators have often misinterpreted that percentage as indicating that nearly half of Americans pay no taxes. In fact, however, many of those who don’t pay income tax do pay other taxes—federal payroll and excise taxes as well as state and local income, sales, and property taxes.Finally, here’s a bit more:
- Half of people who don’t pay income tax aren’t non payers due to tax breaks, their incomes are low.
- Half of people who pay no income tax or payroll taxes are elderly. (In many cases Social Security income is not taxed.)
- One third of those who pay neither income nor payroll taxes are not elderly but earn less than $20,000 per year.